In this Syracuse NY Injury lawyer’s last blog post, I talked about how, in most cases, a New York personal injury victim will end up with a much larger settlement with a lawyer than without one. The problem with “going it alone” is that insurance companies will generally “low ball” you an offer, hoping you will take it, sign a release, and go away (forever).
But my clients aren’t the only ones who get low balled. Sometimes insurance company adjusters will “low ball” me an offer, hoping I will want to make a quick buck and move onto the next case. But at my law firm, we don’t take low ball offers (except in the rare case where our clients won’t listen to our advice and take the low offer). Although some New York personal injury lawyers regularly traffic in low ball settlements, I am proud to say ours does not.
In my opinion, those that do are typically large law firms who advertise heavily and need to “churn” their cases to keep the money rolling in to pay their advertising bills. At my law firm, where the bulk of our cases come by referral from other lawyers, we would rather handle fewer cases and MAXIMIZE the amount we can get for those few but dear clients. We make our money by working up a few cases rather than knocking off quick settlements on a swarm of cases.
Here’s an example of how we work a case: My client was involved in a Syracuse, New York car accident (rear-ended by a driver not paying attention) on January 15, 2015. Although she had pre-existing back issues, the rear-end collision made things a lot worse, and eventually required her to get back surgery (a fusion). Way back on September 8, 2015, the insurance adjuster called and offered me $50,000 to settle the case. The insurance adjuster claimed the injuries were all pre-existing, and that my client was going to have to get the back surgery even if she had not been involved in the rear-end collision.
After consulting with my client (I am required to relay all settlement offers to my clients), we together declined the settlement offer. We instead filed a personal injury lawsuit alleging negligent auto driving by the insured. I then took depositions, organized and analyzed the medical records, and got the case ready for trial.
Lo and behold, before trial the insurance company changed its tune. Here’s the final settlement check (click the image to make it bigger):
So by not jumping on the first offer, by instead fighting the insurance company and patiently building the case, and by homing in on all the medical evidence, and putting the fear of a trial into the heart of the insurance company, we were able to more than triple the settlement figure first offered.
Another recent example: A client slipped and fell in an icy parking lot in Ithaca, New York where he worked. When he arrived in the morning for work, it was raining and puddles were forming in the parking lot, but by the time he left that evening, the temperatures had dropped and the puddles were frozen. He slipped on one of the frozen puddles just as he reached his pickup truck. He tried to steady himself, as he went down, by holding onto the back of the truck. He tore his rotator cuff in the process. He eventually needed repair surgery.
First offer? $45,000. But after suing the case out and taking depositions, including of the landlord who had failed to level out the parking lot, thus allowing the puddles to form and freeze, we settled for . . . (click the image to see the check):
That being said, I am required to remind you that, if you have a Syracuse or Ithaca New York personal injury case and are thinking of hiring me, past settlements are not a guarantee of future results. Every case is different, yours included.